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Jump aboard the change train & feel the change you want

Edgar Leonard. Photo: Provided
Edgar Leonard

Life is living, learning, and change; change happens as a clock changes or waves roar ashore. The late Peter Drucker, Ph.D., the father of management theory, says, “unless an organisation sees that its task is to lead change---whether a business, university or school---, will not survive.

In a period of rapid structural change, the only organisations that survive are the ‘change leaders.’” Heraclitus of Ephesus, an ancient Greek, pre-Socratic and Ionian philosopher, is credited with, “change is the only constant in life.” Fear of change is also a constant; we adore routine and the control and comfort of routine. Further, Albert Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Cliches aside, all of us, both individuals and entities, go through and experience change.

Virgin Island (VI) (British) Change

Post Emancipation on August 1, 1834, the VI transitioned from a 59 square mile, 36 island chain, a little sleepy hollow with a subsistence agricultural economy that shifted to a service-based economy buoyed by tourism and financial services. Today, it is a self-governing Overseas Territory (OT) of the UK, having one of the highest living standards, quality of life, and per capita income in the Anglo-Caribbean region. Though the VI experienced change, change is needed and constantly on its radar screen. Continued progress is a function of positive change.

Feeling the change wanted

Like residents of other countries, Virgin Islanders see and want change, but sometimes, perhaps, don’t want to expend the energy and incur the cost of change. Often, we are afraid of the consequences of change and hope that others battle for us and suffer the cost. During the 2016 Democratic Party primary campaign to select a nominee for the US presidential election, Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign rolled out the popular hashtag----Feel the Bern. Similarly, Virgin Islanders/Residents must feel the change they desire, not just dream, or talk about change. Peter Drucker says, “There is nothing quite so useless as doing with efficiency something that should not be done at all.” Concrete action is needed to get the right things done, not solely the gift for gab or skilled and efficient talk. Sensible change is necessary and comes with a direct and implicit (opportunity cost) cost. To effect sensible and reasonable change, Virgin Islanders must collectively summon the courage, wisdom, strength …etc. to agitate and advocate for necessary and needed change, realising that change is not free and comes with sacrifice, a price, and cost.

Moreover, the VI is a dynamic, not static, territory. As such, Virgin Islanders must powerfully and peacefully dialogue with their elective and non-elective public officials and agitate and advocate about the changes they want to see, i.e., a) more effective and efficient governance, b) greater self-determination (including independence), c) accessible, available and affordable healthcare, d) diversified economy, e) food insecurity, f) first-world infrastructure (roads, ports, water, wastewater, stormwater, gas, electricity, telecommunications), g) physical and internal security, g) skyrocketing cost of living, h) enhanced education, i) environmental preservation and protection, j) public sector retirement system unfunded liabilities, k) re-imagining public sector size and service delivery, i)sports and recreation, m) budget, tax structure, expenditure and prudent debt to GDP, n) enhanced public safety, o) disaster preparedness and readiness, p) rule of law/speedy trials/due process (justice delayed is justice denied), q) constitutional review, r) land use and ownership, s) solid waste management, t) housing, u) economic stability sustainability and  resiliency, v) political patronage and dependency, w) national development plan, x) authority, responsibility and among other needs.

Anegada & Wickham’s Cay Leases

The Anegada Development Company and Wickham’s Cay Company leases are superb examples of the power and effectiveness of robustly agitating and advocating for needed change. Both the Anegada Development Company and Wickham’s Cay Company was a lose-lose deal for Virgin Islanders and VI. The UK granted the VI a new constitution in 1967 that ushered in a ministerial system of government. However, in 1967, UK Administrator Martin S. Stavely signed two (2) 199-year leases with Kenneth Bates-Hill, a UK company. Though the 1967 constitution encompassed more self-governing devolvement, the UK, through its Administrator (change to Governor in 1971), still had complete control of VI finances. Nonetheless, on June 1, 1977, under the Dr Willard Wheatley administration, financial administrative and operational control shifted from the Governor to local government, paving the way for ditching grant-in-aid. However, with the Protocol for Effective Financial Management agreement executed between the UK and VI in April 2012, the UK still has tenacles on VI’s finances.

Moreover, the lease between the UK government (on behalf of the VI) and Kenneth Bates-Hill for Wickham’s Cay and ¾ of Anegada was a lose-lose agreement for the Virgin Islanders. The lease agreement created an apartheid scenario where local involvement would be as hewers of wood and carriers of water. Locals, if lucky, would perhaps have been consumers of services, not producers. The UK bureaucrats negotiating on behalf of the VI had no skin in the game and didn’t have to live with adverse consequences, so the lose-lose decision was easy.

Consequently, Noel Lloyd, sensing an injustice, lose-lose deal, and a wrong for Virgin Islanders and the VI, formed Positive Action Movement (PAM) and leapt into action to agitate and advocate for change. Some other members of PAM included Wilfred Smith, Meg Donovan, Roosevelt Smith, Patsy C. Lake, Vernon Farrington, Cromwell ‘Brushy’ Nibbs, Walter ‘Lindy/Ras Uhuru’ de Castro, among other patriots. PAM educated, informed, and engaged the VI community on the nefarious, lose-lose leases animatedly and passionately. Noel and some other PAM members were arrested and jailed. The once-popular Cell #5 Restaurant and Bar on Waterfront Drive close to the dock had reference to Cell #5 at the old Her Majesty Prison on Main Street, Road Town, Tortola, VI, and ties to PAM agitation for change.

And as a result of PAM’s agitating for a re-negotiating of leases with Kenneth Bates-Hill, the UK appointed a Commission of Enquiry to investigate the Anegada and Wickham’s Cay leases, along with other government-owned lands. At completion, the Commission of Enquiry report, interestingly, was unacceptable to the VI government. Consequently, the VI government, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Kenneth Bates-Hill engaged in negotiation to transfer interest to the VI people and government. The UK presumably loaned the VI government approximately $5.8M to buy out the leases (The Virgins: Drs Pearl Varlack and Norwell Harrigan).

Due to PAM’s agitation, many Virgin Islanders now hold leases on Wickham’s Cay to operate various businesses. And on Anegada, many residents were granted freehold titles to land. Noel Lloyd was scorned, shunned, labeled as crazy, isolated, labeled a troublemaker, pariah…etc. Nevertheless, in his last days and in failing health, he was recognised and rewarded for his sterling contribution to the VI community. The VI now recognises him as a national hero. Psalm 118:22 says, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.’ The VI community owes Noel Lloyd and PAM a HUGE debt of gratitude.

Finally, some people make things happen; some watch things happen, and some wonder what happens. Virgin Islanders must feel the change they desire, not just talk about change(s). They must be change champions/leaders by feeling, investing, living, fighting, agitating, advocating, and sacrificing for the change needed. All Virgin Islanders must work cooperatively and collaboratively for the VI greater good, making the VI, though one of the smallest locales, has the biggest heart and best standard of living and quality of life in the region and beyond.

11 Responses to “Jump aboard the change train & feel the change you want”

  • Xxx (14/05/2021, 09:16) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    Another good read
  • Quiet Warrior (14/05/2021, 11:34) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply

    The “Fr!gs” from the UK don’t give a rat’s @## about the VI people and their well-being. A 199-year lease for Wickham’s Cay and 3/4 of Anegada. What the Fr!g! This was just a give away of the Virgin Islanders birth by one frig Martin Stavely to another fr!g Kenneth Bates-Hill. Two peas in a pod looking out for the interest of one another. Anyone think a local would have gotten such a sweetheart deal? If you believe so, I got some mineral-rich land cheaply for sale at Fallen Jerusalem. The fr!gs took flight from the VI after physical slavery ended, leaving the BVI as a poverty stricken land that was only good as bird sanctuary. Now, the birds are returning to roast and nest. And in too many cases we are welcoming back with open wings. Thumbs up to Noel Llyodd and PAM for their exemplary and courageous stand; they were real patriots; some of us are PINOs. Whatever happened to the PAM organization? It is needed again and now more than ever. It needs to be revived but by true patriots. Noel set the example for agitation.

  • WHY? (14/05/2021, 14:07) Like (1) Dislike (7) Reply
    Why would birds “return to roast “?
    Oh, and the rest of your post is old fashioned racism wrapped up in crap and deep fried.
    But thanks for posting.
    • @Why (14/05/2021, 16:40) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
      @Why, because something is classified as old-fashioned does not make right or real. Racism was real yesterday and is real today. White supremacy, privilege, interest ...etc was real, painful, costly.....etc yesterday as it is today. Of course, the opportunists fled and are now beating feet returning to roost. Roast, well that is another story. It is funny that when rocks are fling after a pack of dogs the one that gets hit hollows loudly. Did Quiet Warrior touch a nerve? Enjoy the tropical weather and stay safe.
      • Hymen (14/05/2021, 19:14) Like (0) Dislike (8) Reply
        I think that was why's point. Quiet warrior was being racist against white people which is as bad as the other way round. It's all bad. Not sure what dogs have to do with this but whatever. Peace.
        • trrefdrfds (15/05/2021, 09:25) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
          Truth is truth and facts are facts. A fr!g is a fr!g. Pretending and hoping that his history did not happen do not the reality. Folks have been and are trying to revise, whitewash history to show themselves and their racist behaviour in a positive light for the longest. Well, the jib is up. Just come clean with the mea culpa. Just admit that W....e supremacy is a myth, a fantasy, a ploy. Every rope has a beginning and a bitter end.
  • Rubber Duck (14/05/2021, 16:36) Like (0) Dislike (8) Reply
    Albert Einstein never had a Microsoft computer.
    • So what, Rubber Duck? (14/05/2021, 23:40) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Even if Einstein had such a computer, he could not have designed the great pyramid. Nor could he have discovered the Sirius B star like the African Dogan tribe did.

      I don't think he himself developed the theory of relativity. He likely studied what the ancient Africans developed and wrote a paper on their work. Like any bright Phd student. He was not involved in any other "genius" work besides relativity.
  • class mate (14/05/2021, 19:25) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    You threw me for a loop. I was on the change track and the value of agitation and advocation for effecting change. Positive Action Action (PAM)was not on my mind. Then voila, you drop national hero Noel Lloyd and PAM in the discussion. Good example of the value of strong agitation to positive outcome. PAM was decades and many Virgin Islanders/residents either have not heard about it or have forgotten about. Well, Wickham’s Cay and Anegada land distribution are fruits of PAM labour. It was a labour of love. @Quiet Warrior, PINO is a new creation. Lol. Seriously, PAM and its effort must living on in the annals of history. The true Patriots must not be forgotten. How about a Noel Lloyd/PAM holiday?
  • Eagle and Buffalo (15/05/2021, 07:41) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Indeed, if Virgin Islanders wants change, thay must agitate for real, concrete change; change require action, not just hope and talk. The power of numbers, large numbers drive change. Many want change but wants it cheap. But change is not cheap but the return on investment is fruitful and bountiful, ie, Noel Lloyd and PAM action. Their action yielded the desired outcome came a personal cost. This personal cost deter many from pursuing the change they want. This may temporarily benefit a few but has adverse national consequences. As E. Leonard suggested, we must feel the change we want. We live it, breathe it and fell it. And a better day(s) will come. We will get better governance, better infrastructure, including faster and cheaper internet services; better quality of life and standard of living, better, stronger, and more stable economic sectors, better healthcare, better education and so on.

    [Let’s lead like eagles, not careen off the cliff like buffaloes]
  • Rattler (15/05/2021, 21:31) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Fully agre, it is time to jump aboard the change train and feel the change wanted. In many regional countries, including the BVI, the change trains have been traveling much less than half-empty for decades. The Anglo-Caribbean emerge on an independence parade starting with Jamaica in August 1962 but not much has changed in substantial progress. A very small percent are doing well while the masses are catching hell. Every day for the masses in any regional country ( have your pick) is a persistent hustle. Why is the change train traveling basically empty?

    Politics, especially party politics, have had a chokehold on regional progress for decades. For example, if Party A is in power, its die hard, loyal supporters fully supports it even its actions are not in the best interest of individuals and the nation. The loyalists remain mumb even when it clear that the policies of Party A is on the wrong track. Nonetheless, when the finally breaks and Party B kicks Party A to curb, the vicious circle of no change continues. The countries spins in circles going no where. The continuous spinning results in getting the ‘maze.’ A collective effort is needed to break the cycle and gallops towards progress. The load factor on the change must be drastically increase for the BVI and other regional countries to stay on track. Lacking of loading will in train derailing. Let’s engage the Rattler; a Rattler never surrenders when engaged.

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